LeBron James, who many consider the best NBA player right now, has been blazing trails with his decisions over the years.
James started a shift in how top-tier players looked at free agency in 2010 when he joined Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami.
In fact, James tried to urge Carmelo Anthony to join Bosh and Wade. “In 2006, James called Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony to urge them all to sign just three-year extensions off their rookie deals, ensuring they all could become free agents in the same year (2010) and positioning them to pool their power and resources,” reported ESPN.
“Anthony declined, but we all know what Bosh and Wade did, and we know league owners were so frightened by the move that they locked out the players in 2011 in order to try to prevent it from happening again.”
James has been more and more comfortable doing things differently than many other players. When he became a free agent last offseason, his agent Rich Paul informed teams: “Make it a max contract, not a penny less, and once LeBron decides on a team we’ll tell you how long he’s staying.”
When James decided on Cleveland, he told them he’d be signing a two-year deal with a player option on the second year. “There was no negotiation,” according to ESPN.
He’s also impacted other areas of the league, such as the All-Star break–being one of the main players advocating a longer break.
James has also focused on two other areas–building his brand, including courting the major shoe companies before signing a huge deal with Reebok, and weighing in on significant cultural situations, such as the Trayvon Martin case.
When the comments that Clippers owner Donald Sterling made were published, James called for Sterling’s ouster for the league–quickly backed up by other players, former players, and coaches. He’s also spoken out about the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths.
“I am kind of the guy that has the power without even having to put a name on it,” James concluded.